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Total number of comments: 45 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:23)


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  • Is Russia a "Regional Power" or "Geopolitical Threat"? Obama argues with Romney from the Hague
    • Good specific comments above. And as a general observation, I would volunteer that it is better to be "weak" but wise rather than "strong" but stupid. "Strong" America tore apart Iraq based on lies and deceit. Very, very stupid, as well as immoral. I see no virtue or strength in folly.

  • ABC: Bush's Neocon Spokesman for Illegal US Occupation of Iraq Slams Russia for Crimea
    • The Russians have been playing these games a long time now, against experts, and the neo-con Americans are callow rookies at it. They'll be taken to the cleaners by savvy operators like in the Kremlin. They've already been outmaneuvered in Georgia and Ukraine and no amount of hysteria over Crimea can change it.

    • While I have no trust in the neo-cons or their enablers, I seriously doubt they really want a war with someone who is capable of fighting back in a major way. So not Russia, then -- but quite possibly a proxy, like Iran, is in their sights. Iran has been for years anyway, the agitators are just waiting for the right casus belli. And they only *think* Iran can't fight back in a significant way.

      We certainly do want to surround, isolate, and intimidate Russia, but I don't see it leading to an open military clash. Too risky even for idiot neo-cons. Too much chance of NOT making money out of it.

    • Thank you for that, Andreas Lord. The lies of the Iraq war have been swept under the rug and everyone in power pretends not to see. No wonder we keep repeating the same bloody mistakes. But as long as the suffering is confined to "other" places and "other" peoples (including the professional American military caste), Americans blithely go about inflicting war on others at their whim, on their way to the shopping mall or while watching corporate-controlled TV.

  • Russian Annexation of Crimea, Israeli Annexation of Palestine
    • If only Israel had annexed the Crimea, all would be well! (wink)

    • PS: I am mortified that I neglected mentioning Tibet!

    • Perhaps. But I can't help but feel that international law is often a toothless beast when there is no reliable enforcement mechanism. As long as NATO and the UN serve the wishes of American geo-political interests, as I would argue they generally do, international law is too often a smokescreen for the powerful to do as they please, and the weak accept what they must accept. Otherwise, a lot of the Bush II administration would be at The Hague right now in the docket.

    • Oh, and I just remembered how the Argentines attempted to take the Falklands by force and force the British to accept a fait accompli. The Argentine position seems to be that geographical proximity trumps the rights of the islanders to self-determination. And they evidently have not abandoned that stance. Nor has mainland China forsworn their "right" to conquer Taiwan by force if they so choose.

    • If we start going over population transfers, immigrations, and colonizations, this issue will never resolve. Where is the statute of limitations drawn? A hundred years ago? Ten? Two hundred? Americans better be careful how they define this, since most of North America belonged to Indian tribes not so very long ago. Perhaps the US should evacuate non-Native Americans from the Dakotas, Oklahoma, much of the Great Plains and Southwest, at the least, and return it to indigenous inhabitants? That's not gonna happen, so the moral high ground here is very murky.

      I recall India absorbing Sikkim; Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and still controls a third of that island via a puppet regime; there have been break-ups of established states into new states (USSR, Czechoslovakia, Bangladesh, Eritrea), sometimes with violence. We may come to see this era of relatively stable borders as an anomaly rather than a new standard.

  • Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Frightened of The CIA
    • Of course. This goes back to J Edgar Hoover keeping FBI files on anyone in government he suspected he might need to control. He effectively blackmailed every administration until his death to retain his power and position. This has been well documented. To expect no less of the CIA and its allies is sheer naivete.

  • A Russo-Iranian Bloc against the United States?
    • If the Russians want to really cock a snoot at Uncle Sam becoming a big buttinski over the Crimea (ANOTHER in a long list of places "vital to US interests" all of a sudden that 99% of Americans couldn't find on a map) then they ought to move full steam ahead on delivering and deploying that snappy new air defense system they've sold to the Iranians but not fully supplied. And beef it up. Make both the Americans and the Israelis cry foul.

  • President Obama's Doubtful Grounds for Military Action against Syria
    • Bravo! Well said, Dr. Cole. No nation that built its foundations on genocide the way the US has (just ask the next American Indian you chance to meet, IF you ever do) has a right to wag fingers at other nations and preach about higher morality. The illegal and still-unpunished invasion and dismantling of Iraq is an even more recent example of this country's shameless in advancing its own imperial agenda at the expense of whatever hapless civilians get in its way.

  • Iraq: A country whose Future was Stolen (Jamail)
    • Truly a sobering story. Have any lessons been learned by the US? I see little evidence of it. The American public has learned nothing and remembers nothing. I feel sorrow for the Iraqis who have been the victims of American dreams of hegemony. The US is very good at breaking countries, not so good at putting them back together. I wish these "anniversary" features the US media is producing -- usually centered on more military worship -- would instead replay a loop of the brave Iraqi who throw his shoes at Bush. That summed up the whole ugly experience. I hope people line up to throw shoes at Bush's presidential library when it opens.

  • After Benedict: Religions have to Democratize if they are to Survive
    • Humans are fallible and an individual's time on earth is brief but the central truths of the Church are held to be eternal. Too many people are looking at the messengers and not the message when they criticize organized religion (ANY religion), which has always been a problem with the religious impulse.

      The Catholic Church is right to maintain and defend its core doctrines in a world that is devoted to fashion trends, shallowness, and lack of reflection. This is not to say that doctrine does not and should not evolve -- it is meant to say that the Church should not be expected to sway with the prevailing winds and concern itself with popularity polls. That's not its job.

      There is a benefit to organization and "bureaucracy" that explains why some religions prosper and endure and other movements are mere personality cults that wither when their prime movers leave the scene. Institutionalization allows the message to be preserved and disseminated through the generations. The wheel doesn't need to be reinvented over and over again. This is a strength of all the organized religions, although there is always a downside, the effect of human failure and folly. That's life.

      I defend the Church but I do not defend the indefensible actions of individuals. All too frequently, the Church and its stewards have forgotten the immortal wisdom of Stan Lee's Spider-man -- with great power also comes great responsibility. It's corny but it's true.

  • Russia slams Israeli bombing of Syria as Violation of UN Charter
    • If I were a patriotic Russian leader or soldier, I would be quite incensed at the state of the world from my perspective. Since the collapse of the Soviet empire, Russia has been truncated geographically and militarily, hollowed economically, and sees its former satellites becoming American proxies now and American military bases surrounding what's left of Russian territory. American bases in central Asia! Never in the bad old Communist days would the Soviets tolerated this level of threat. I don't know why the West doesn't expect a potentially vicious reaction by the Russians at some point, after decades of humiliations and sabotage, and they may not find many allies left when they look abroad.

  • Blaming Gen. Petraeus for the Wrong Mistakes: Remembering Afghanistan (Cook)
    • The American army is just so top-heavy, reliant on excessive logistical support and massive firepower. They are usually both ignorant/contemptuous of and frightened of local civilinas and call for heavy weapons or aerial support at the slightest whiff of hostile fire. They can't seem to survive overseas in combat zones without huge bases, junk food and drugs, creature comforts, and overwhelming conventional superiority. The guerillas, innurred to the land, culture, and hardship, run rings around the ponderous Americans and their body armor, cyber-weapons, and vehicles. This war was never going to be won. What Afghan would regard these alien, robotic-looking infidels with their invisible eyes, profane speech, arrogant attitudes, and callousness toward Afghan lives as any sort of trustworthy allies or friends? Our presence breeds enemies. The sooner we learn this, the better.

    • Yes. As long as the military places its priority on protecting AMERICAN lives, they will continue to forfeit mission successes and thus lose wars. Soldiers are conditioned to expect to sacrifice their lives for each other and only sometimes for "the mission' and almost never for non-combatants -- the reason the "mission" exists. In insurgencies, the PRIME focus of an outside force (e.g., the US in Afghanistan) has got to be to protect civilians even at the cost of greater military casualties. Otherwise you alienate the locals and lose the political struggle, and any tactical military successes are so much dog-wash.

      You'd think Vietnam would have taught this lesson, but no. I see that once again a concerted military effort is underway to portray the latest wars as lost by namby-pamby politicians, craven diplomats, and weasely generals and REMFs, same as in the post-Vietnam era.

      Going into Afghanistan with guns blazing and no-holds barred didn't succeed for the much more ruthless Soviets, so why do some American officers think we only needed to "take off the gloves" to blast the Taliban away? The idea that any army can kill its way into victory in a guerilla war has been proven wrong countless times in the modern period. Why doesn't the US military get it?

  • Drone, Sanctions affecting Medicine, Intensify US-Iran Tensions
    • Israel can defy UN resolutions with relative impunity. But Iran defies Uncle Sam, and scares Israel, so they must pay and be threatened with attack. yep, seems fair and even-handed to me.

  • Brandeis U. Owes Jimmy Carter an Apology: Israelis agree they run Apartheid State, as Far Right Wing Coalition Emerges
    • Maybe this is indeed the wave of the future. More repression, more state control, more surveillance, far fewer civil rights or liberties. Maybe this is just part of a receeding wave of democracy and freedom that is being replaced by police state fascism and corporate feudalism. In which case apartheid in Israel will not necessarily wither away and more such practices will become commonplace. We shouldn't be complacent about "progress" in human affairs.

  • A Letter from Benghazi on Crappy Republican Talking Points
    • It seems to me that the Libyan authorities have plenty of self-interested reasons for wanting to push the blame for this attack on rogue militias, "outsiders", or "foreign jihadists", whatever the truth to the matter. I would take whatever is said by Libyan officials for public consumption, esp. to American listeners, with a big grain of salt.

  • Israel Lobbyist suggests False Flag attack to start war with Iran
    • RE: false flag attacks, how about an Israeli sub sinking a major US warship in the Persian Gulf? The Iranians get blamed, and voila, brand new oil war.

  • Top Seven Errors President Obama has made on the Middle East
    • Viz. point 2 above, there are also in Afghanistan no significant insurgent groups willing to allow themselves to be bought off, as the Americans bought off many Sunni rebels via the "Awakening" plan. Paying Iraqi guerrillas not to fight us was the key to tamping down Iraq, from an American perspective.

  • Netanyahu in 1992: Iran close to having nuclear bomb
    • And these so-called warnings continued through the first decade of this century as well. The goalposts keep getting pushed back, but the same dire predictions continue.

  • Top Ten Bad Signs for Romney
    • It's just like the primaries -- the more people get to see and hear Romney, the less enthused they are about him.

  • Mitt Romney's coming War on Iran: A Tale of Two Conventions
    • War is about the only thing the US can still do better than anyone else -- up to a certain degree (Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the US still cannot fight an insurgency with any great success). No one in the Mideast trusts us, no one much admires us. and we're in over our heads when it comes to diplomacy and intrigue with far more accomplished players. If the US didn't have its Big Stick, no one would take us seriously at all, with our economy wrecked and our finances tottering and our leadership wholly corrupt and unprincipled.

      The American willingness to use force or the threat of force to get its way, combined with bribery and deceit, is bound to produce disaster after disaster for themselves and others.

  • Top Ten differences between White Terrorists and Others
  • Top Ten Signs you Might be a Nazi Loser
    • It is sad to think that the US military now includes a substantial "skinhead" white supremicist element. Some of the entries in this list could easily apply to a number of well-documented and in some cases well-publicized cases of soldiers who speak of and treat Middle Easterners/Muslims as "sand niggers" and "ragheads", pose with SS-rune Nazi flags, and celebrate atrocities carried out against helpless villagers as much as any German force running amok on the WWII Eastern Front.

  • The Great Wall of . . . Arizona (Miller)
    • Nobody (i.e., the surveillance state and its operatives) ever went broke in the US selling fear and snake oil to the rubes (i.e., the rest of us scared sheep).

  • CIA ‘revives attacks on rescuers’ in Pakistan (Woods)
    • The Slate ran a feature on this very issue today, here: link to

    • Why isn't Pakistan shooting down a few drones, to get its point across? Time for the Pakistanis to stop letting themselves be used as American punching bags. Can the CIA be paying off EVERY Pakistani general and politician? I would think there might be one or two patriots there who object to being seen as helpless stooges for Uncle Sam's wargames in South Asia.

  • Romney wants to Fight Whole Muslim World, not Concentrate on Bin Laden
    • This is a great statement by Dr. Cole. Romney is simply a bonehead, even when he tries to throw red meat to his supporters he dumbs down every discussion he's involved with. How did American politicians get so clueless about the world, it's history, and the different people and cultures that dominate it? American exceptionalism is mainly exceptionally ignorant.

  • Rubio Calls for War on Iran, Syria-- as Israeli Army Rejects Strike
  • The Arab Revolutions Continue, its Just not Mostly on American TV
    • The Tuareg situation is very interesting to me (and not because they've become a car somehow), as a history buff. I have a lot of inherent sympathy for the wild men of the world, what few there are, and the nomadic, stateless peoples who have been under such oppression from settled peoples and governments. I think there needs to be some provision made to respect the rights and lifestyles of such people, be they Tuaregs, Australian aborigines, Inuit, American Indians, Kurds, Baluchi nomads, Gypsies/Roma, Bushmen, and etc.

      The Tuareg remind me of the Highlanders of Scotland, historically. Seen as savages by the urbanized, settled, "civilized" folk whom they had traditionally been a thorn in the side to. Ruthlessly suppressed by the forces of modernity and "progress".

      Ideally, the Tuareg would have an area of their traditional homeland in the Sahara to roam freely. They shouldn't be imprisoned by artificial national borders and they do not really have anything in common culturally or historically with the other Malians. A lot of the troubles with the Tuareg result from the blinkered attempts of authorities to force them to abandon their lifestyles, as authority always seems to want to do to free people who won't obey the Rules. There is a better way to approach this problem than forcing the Tuareg into militancy to defend what they see as a threat to their existence.

  • Israel's Atom Bomb Factory in 3D
    • Why would Israel possibly think it needs 400 nuclear weapons? Is it considering war with Russia or the US? Really, this is a preposterous attitude for them to take, at a time when the rest of the world is calling for nuclear disarmament or ongoing reductions in warheads as a goal.

  • Afghanistan Massacre: Unstable Soldiers, Untreated Brain Injuries, PTSD
    • Soldiers with scant regard for local inhabitants, desecration of enemy (or just suspected enemy) dead, shoot-first tactics, night-time raids on civilians, poses with the SS flag, coal-scuttle helmets, and massacres of villagers. Achtung, baby, the Wehrmacht has returned, and we are the new Reich.

  • How an Israeli Strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel
    • If the US REALLY disapproved of an Israeli strike on Iran, and wanted to stop it, then the US should make it clear that if they detected such an attack was imminent or underway, then American jets and missiles would interdict Israeli attackers and stop them by force. THAT would deter an attack. Otherwise, the US is just blowing smoke.

  • Egypt Soccer Protests Challenge Military Regime
    • This strangely reminds me of readings from Byzantine history -- the racing factions in the hippodrome of Constantinople, particularly the Blues and the Greens (known by the color of the livery of the various racing teams) had the power to break Emperors by taking to the streets. See the Nika riots of the sixth century, for example. Everything old is new again!

  • Can Obama Prevail against a Romney-Netanyahu Ticket? - Robertson
    • One hopes that the spate of successful US special forces operations doesn't create a false sense of omnipotence in the Oval Office or a reliance on military options as somehow predictable and decisive.

  • Will Pakistan's Crisis affect US in Afghanistan
    • The last I read, the Pakistanis were still denying the US access to their land transportation routes, and are planning to implement new taxes on the supplies once the roads are reopened. This will increase costs of supplying the military in Afghanistan even beyond the already stratospheric heights. Guess who pays for that?

  • Iran Hype undermined by Obama Administration Admissions
    • Well, thanks to the electoral college, there's not much point in WHO we vote for in all but a handful of states. Since I live in a deep Red state, I can vote for Nero or Minnie Mouse for all the difference it makes.

    • It's almost the same policy as viz. Cuba -- once Uncle Sam takes an irrational hatred against a government ("regime" is usually trotted out to indicate a government we don't support -- no one in Washington talks about the British "regime" or the Canadian "regime" -- there's nothing that government can do, short of unconditional surrender, that will please the US.

      If Iran didn't want nuclear weapons before, this past decade will have underscored why they should covet them. Only then would the Americans and Israelis back off.

    • It's almost like Israel (this looks like Mossad work to me, altho' they could also be working with the CIA) is daring Iran to retaliate to these constant provocations, perhaps to then justify the full military strike so many in Israel would like to see.

      Given this legacy of murder, what sort of harvest does Israel expect to reap, should Iran or another hostile Muslim state ever truly gain nuclear weapons? It's not like they might not bear a grudge after all this terrorism.

      It's very sad to see the Israelis, of all people, become a mirror image of the evils they have historically faced.

    • BLAM!! Another Iranian civilian scientist, plus his driver, murdered by obvious foreign or foreign-sponsored assassins.

      Really, these are acts of covert war. If Iran doesn't respond in some way, they only invite more of the same (that's always been Israel's policy toward aggression, anyway). You have to ask, how long would the US tolerate the assassination of its nationals on its own soil by foreign provocateurs? What an ugly double-standard is at work in the world.

  • GOPers Promise you War on Iran & Torture & Poverty
    • "War's good business, so give your sons." -- Grace Slick, from "Rejoyce"

      It is horribly shameful that the US has descended to this -- behaving like any of the worst, most arrogant empires through history, full of fear, ready to launch sneak attacks on any perceived rival, no matter how nebulous the threat. It was only as recently as 1962 that RFK argued against attacking Russian missile sites in Cuba on the grounds of not wanting his brother to be "the American Tojo." We've had a number of American Tojos since then, and the prospect of more to come.

      All out of fear and paranoia -- fear of a country that has not attacked us, is not threatening to attack us, a fear that's more Israel's than America's. To launch a war on the basis of what you fear *might* happen is simply immoral and illegal. I might fear all sorts of imagined terrors from my neighbors, but that doesn't entitle me to open fire on them in their homes. That would be the act of a madman -- what do we call it when a nation acts in this way?

      The rest of the world needs to clamp down on this unilateral US aggression and hegemonic behavior, sooner than later, before millions more suffer.

  • Iraq, Iran and the Nuclear Phantasm: We've Seen this Picture
    • I am following this story very keenly and would like some followup information or comments on a few items. One, what happened to the sophisticated air defence system the Russians were once slated to deliver to Iran? Was that scuttled for good? Seems that anything the Russians could do to significantly deter an Israeli attack would be a helpful counterweight to American enabling of Israel's aggressive tendencies. And following on this, if the Israelis are able to reach Iranian air space (and exactly how? Over Iraq? From submarines and naval vessels? From friendly bases in the Caucasus?), could the Russians themselves directly interdict such an attack with their own air forces? Would they do so? Or would such a threat itself act to deter the Israelis?

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